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What's in a name?

Big sunburnt sky

Deep ocean blue


Chestnut muscled surfers

Boards crafted in ancient ways

To run with the water

Shapes bobbing, diving, flying,

tales told, legends to uphold

then…waves roll

Gasping for air.

Tumbling over and over

Weight of water above

and thundering around

World upturned

The point you were making is

not important

Existence is a gift


That light you follow

can save you, or enslave you

if you don’t see true…

A dream of water abating

Cool release for a fleeting

and universally beating heart

Days when you live

the salty life

Sea eternal, and you as one

Or return to shore

board broken cleanly

in two


yet Alive

- Whale Beach by Brett Cowell

I wrote this poem a short time after being tossed in the Sydney surf, later, while watching surfers at another beach.

Did you know that The Good Life Book was originally going to be called A Professional's Guide to Happiness? Looking down at the surfers that day, made me realize that there was something deeper than "just" happiness to chase after, there was life itself. So on that day, I changed the name.

Normally, life surrounds us like air and we don't even notice it. But at that moment I became aware of the buzz and energy of life all around me. It was a tangible feeling, an electricity. The feeling lasted for months afterwards. I can still recall it, years later.

Now. I kind of wish that I'd called the book "Life" or something, since the good life has many different and contradictory meanings to different people.

A lot of us have been through a lot in the past year (and, in fact, there is always somebody going through something that shakes their foundations). Most of us would settle right now for a return to some sort of normality. "Normal" has become a proxy for the good life. It will do. Life, without the constant physical and emotional stressors and threats.

So, in lieu of a second edition of The Good Life Book (that will be 2022 at the soonest), I've decided to delve through both the published book and also the unpublished drafts that preceded it, looking for something that might be of use to you, and sharing that, in this time of the "great reset".


I'm going to call this series simply "Life".

The Good Life is a philosophy and practice of living aimed at getting an enriched experience and better outcomes from life by knowing and following what is important - The Good Life unpublished draft 2016

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